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tv   CBS 5 Eyewitness News at Noon  CBS  March 16, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT

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your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. and good afternoon, everyone. i'm frank mallicoat. >> and i'm sydnie kohara. there could be a breakthrough in japan. just moments ago, the operator
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of the country's crippled nuclear plant said they have almost completed a new power line that could restore electricity to the complex. >> and that could solve the crisis that has threatened a meltdown there. the 50 workers trying to keep that plant cool have been sent back in. they were forced to flee last night when radiation levels rose to dangerous levels. >> all six reactors are now experiencing problems. and 200,000 people living nearby have been forced to evacuate. randall pinkston reports. >> reporter: helicopters carrying water buckles hovered over the fukushima dai-ichi power plant. the cabinet secretary says the problems are not simple enough to be fixed by water duchess. another fire and high radiation levels temporarily forced crews to leave the complex wednesday morning. but they were ordered to return
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several hours later. about 50 workers have been trying to cool fuel rods to prevent a nuclear meltdown. earlier in the day white smoke was seen rising from one of the reactors. thousands of worried residents are fleeing frustrated with the lack of information. >> it's very traumatic and the main thing is we don't know what to do. >> reporter: the united nations and the u.s. government have both sent teams of experts to japan to deal with the nuclear crisis. more than 90 governments are also providing humanitarian assistance. but hard-hit villages are getting snow and temperatures are below freezing. shelters are filled to capacity with the homeless. >> i have been here for five days. it's holding 1,000 to 2,000 people, all the schools turned into evacuation centers. >> reporter: a rare address was made by the prime minister, expressing his condolences for the loss of life urging his subjects not to give up. randall pinkston, cbs news, at the united nations. since the bay area college students are in japan are being
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told to return home now, 12 students from san francisco state, 35 students from stanford, they have all been studying there as part state of the program. that program is now suspended. it's unclear when the students will be back in the u.s. the airports in japan have been packed with passengers trying to leave. officials are stepping up efforts to protect the west coast from any radiation exposure. the lawrence livermore lab is monitoring the situation and the environmental protection agency is installing more electronic radiation monitors on the west coast. right now there is one on top of a building in downtown san francisco. the threat could come in the form of beta particles and gamma rays if the reactor core explodes in a nuclear meltdown on the other side of the pacific. >> i think that's extremely unlikely that there will be any risk to folks in this country. distance is simply so large. >> despite the distance, though, many people in the bay area are stocking up on potassium iodide pills and on
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kelp, both said to protect the thyroid from radioactive contamination. we are getting a better idea now of the bay area cities most vulnerable to a tsunami. new maps show the areas most at risk, the "mercury news" reporting the golden gate strait would limit how much water could pour into san francisco bay sparing the south bay and peninsula. but the strait would direct the brunt of the tsunami toward alameda and the port of oakland. the quake in japan directed most of its energy north of the bay area. look at these new images out of crescent city after the tsunami. the fierce waves crashed through the harbor tangling and even sinking some vessels. port officials now say 63 boats were damaged. and in the santa cruz harbor, we are told the damage could top $25 million. today uc students and staff across the state are making their voices heard. >> yeah, they're telling the board of regents, don't balance the budget on our backs. christin ayers is live over at
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uc-berkeley where protestors are rallying against those budget cuts. she joins us now live. christin. >> reporter: that's right, frank. they are rallying against what they call university greed. the uc regents are meeting today to discuss how to deal with $500 million in state funding cuts. these workers are here to tell university, don't balance the budget on our backs. these protests are happening at 10uc campuses today. custodians, service workers and even students say they have already seen massive layoffs, temporary positions have been slashed, and now their retirement age may be raised and pensions cut. one custodian told me it's too much to bear for the university's lowest paid workers. >> we already are living on the edge of our poverty. we already are in poverty. we are living like what we call it hanging by a thread because we are already struggling to make ends meet. and with this new cuts that they are presenting to make on us, like making us retire at
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age 65 with a physical work as a custodian, i don't know if i'm going to be able to do it. >> now, workers went before the board today to tell them the cuts should come not from them but from the highest paid workers including top executives who are looking at bonuses that they say have in the been cut. some of the proposals that they put before them today were among them, stop using external consultants and they are also asking the university to take a close look at some of those bonuses that top executives here are earning. back to you. >> all right, christin ayers live over at uc-berkeley, thank you. a crucial vote today that could affect education funding. in an hour the senate is set to vote on the state budget. but there appears to be no agreement with republicans to ensure its passage. governor jerry brown has been negotiating with them over putting tax extensions on the ballot. the budget would also cut into state services for the poor,
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healthcare and california universities. the state's facing a $26 billion budget deficit. so what do voters think about the governor's budget plan? a new field poll shows the majority of voters support a special election and tax extensions but 61% of republicans say they would vote against the tax proposal. mohammed ali to the rescue? how the boxing legend is trying to free two uc-berkeley hikers accused of spying in iran. >> and how safe is the natural gas pipeline running through your neighborhood? the critical information pg&e can't find. and do you have earthquake insurance? >> in the cbs 5 weather center we started out with soggy rain early on. skies starting to part a bit but there are more storms on the way. we'll talk about that coming up. ,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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the "bible way apo-stolic church" in richmond is fighting contra costa county church is staging a sit-in to avoid eviction. the place in richmond is fighting to stay open. the eviction notice said they had to be out today so the pastor called together the congregation and organized a service in a last-ditch effort to save their church. >> i don't want to leave. i'm fighting for my rights. i deserve to stay here. i'm fighting for every word that i appreciate for the past nine years. >> the church is months behind on its mortgage. the pastor said they fell victim to to a loan scam and couldn't afford the mortgage. the bank refused to try to work it out. developing news out of libya right now where four journalists working for the "new york times" are reported
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missing. two reporters and two photographers. editors at the times say they last heard from the four on tuesday. the missing are a bureau chief, a reporter and videographer and two photographers. former heavyweight champ mohammed ali has stepped into the diplomacy ring. ali sent a letter to iran's ayatollah hoping for the release of the two remaining hikers, cal grads held captive since 2009. ali the most prominent american muslim asked to show mercy and compassion for the two men, josh fattal and shane bauer. no word if the champ had any luck. insurance rates just got cheaper for thousands of california patients. we'll tell you what's behind blue shield's sudden change of heart. >> name your price. today's special offer at the gap, coming up. we still have plenty of clouds around the bay area, not much in the way of rain.
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of gas pipeline. meanwhile, the utility admits it have e pg&e says that it's going to be agreesive in testing and replacing hundreds of miles of gas pipeline. the utility admits it does not have evidence of some previous tests. >> anne makovec joins us now
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from san bruno with why some of the records are either incomplete or missing. anne? >> reporter: and they are specifically looking for records in places like the san bruno neighborhood behind me, areas they deem high consequence, where a lot of people live and work, and that's definitely upping the potential for disaster. the company has been searching for records on hundreds of miles of high pressure pipelines since january. last night was the deadline in pg&e's report for the state public utilities commission was incomplete. at least 8% of the records are missing or never existed possibly because the pipes were installed before recordkeeping was law. >> we are continuing to do review of our process. this isn't good enough for us. we are going to continue to do review our records for these remaining 8% of lines. or remaining 8% of records, i should say.
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>> in the meantime, pg&e is touting a new series of what it calls aggressive testing measures specifically looking at 150 miles of hype line of similar age to the line that blew here looking for weakness. >> big corporations, they have a waste of money... they thinks their own way. >> reporter: after the explosion in san bruno, 6 months ago, people here are skeptical, especially when it comes to pressure in gas lines. spike something considered a possible cause in this explosion -- spiking is considered a possible cause in this explosion. but even some records for this line are still missing, and the cause is still unknown. >> i just think it's been a long time. it should have been settled months ago, maybe not completely but poor people waiting for their monies to start a life. >> reporter: now, as far as this testing, it's probably not going to start in full force until this summer because demand for gas is lower at that point. frank. >> all right, anne makovec live in san bruno, thank you. the safety of those full
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body airport scanners is being questioned. lawmakers discussed the issue on capitol hill today during a house committee hearing. those scanners have been known to use low levels of radiation. last week, the tsa ordered all of the machines to be retested after abnormally high levels were reported. the agency believes it was just a mat mattics mistake. -- mathematics mistake. house representatives say airline passengers deserve the best security. >> we have an obligation to ask tough questions and when needed find solutions. we must assess whether federal screening procedures can be done with greater efficiency and effectiveness. >> homeland security secretary janet napolitano has said the machines give off the same amount of radiation as a passenger would get from two minutes in the air. all right. if you like rain, have we got a forecast for you. lawrence has rain, more rain and lots of rain. >> yes! boy, we have some great storms coming our way, actually they are not gigantic, but today we had a nice little soaker early on. and well, not looking too bad
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before the afternoon hours. the mount vaca cam looking good, skies parting a bit. most of the rain has ended now. so i think as we head toward the afternoon it's fair to say we are going to keep things pretty dry. out at the coastline, ocean beach still a lot of clouds but sun peeking through there. going to see more of that heading in toward the afternoon. cold front kind of making its way out of town. so it's a lot of clouds around or skies. it is going to be breezy especially inside the bay and out toward the coastline. the temperatures, 50s and 60s. now, tonight you're going to wan to watch out for some of the low clouds and dense fog in the valleys. temperatures in the 30s and 40s should be dry all night but then another weak system headed our way. this is the one that went through today. that front is slowly dragging on by. the main cold front gone by with clouds lingering behind it. cloudy around the bay area today and fairly dry out there, as well. behind that though, we have this next one coming in. there is a slight chance that we could see some showers mainly north of the golden gate bridge, especially heading in toward tomorrow afternoon. temperatures going to work outline this. plan on 62 degrees in san jose
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today, 61 in santa clara, 62 in union city, and about 60 in san mateo. how about the east bay? temperatures in the 50s and 60s by the afternoon, we should see a little more sunshine out there in the latter part of the day. and as we look toward the north bay, we are expecting the temperatures mainly in the 50s and the 60s too. but yup, if you love the rain, hey, you're going to love these next seven days. we have about a chance of rain about every, single day. we have the rainfall early on today, i think a slight chance of showers for tomorrow. more rain across the entire bay area heading in toward friday. chance of scattered showers continuing on saturday and sunday. and it looks like more rain as we head in toward monday and tuesday. by the way, i should methods, much colder storms headed our way come friday, i should mention. low snow levels around 3,000 feet so we have the possibility of snow and thunderstorms. and yes, needless to say, don't forget tomorrow, hey, it's st. patrick's day! how about this for a green graphic? if you're not wearing green this will make up for it.
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chance of rain, 50s and 60s. back to you. >> thank you. some good news for hundreds of thousands of californians with blue shiel insurance. the company has cancelled a planned rate hike at least for the rest of the year. they had planned to raise rates as much as 59% beginning this month. now the company says it wants to help make coverage more affordable in this tough economy. well from health insurance to earthquake insurance. only 12% of california home owners have it, even though nearly 90% of americans live in a potential danger zone. on the consumerwatch, julie watts finds out whether it's worth it. >> reporter: it was right after loma prieta that nathan decided to buy earthquake insurance. >> it's frightening experience. you hope you would never be able to use it, of course. but it's there. it's insurance. >> reporter: and with his home just two miles from the hayward
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fault, having coverage seemed like a necessity until he took a closer look at his deductible. >> $35,000 deductible, which is outrageous. >> reporter: so shoehalter dropped his insurance and instead retrofitted his home for less than $20,000. >> the damage can be reduced by having the house retrofitted. >> reporter: this man doesn't think in earthquake insurance, that retrofitting is more effective. doug heller used to agree with that. >> the reality, if you have equity in your home especially, and if you live even completely close to an earthquake fault, it's a good time to go back and look for earthquake insurance coverage if you don't have it. >> reporter: the executive director of consumer watchdog explains rates continue to decrease even as risk of a major quick increases. according to the california earthquake authority, as the science of earthquakes and structural engineering improves, so does their
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understanding of risk and, based on that they are reducing premiums. >> right now only about 12% of californians actually have earthquake coverage. if the disaster strikes and you have coverage, your home will be the first to be rebuilt. >> reporter: heller points out in a major earthquake, those without insurance will have to wait for government assistance or qualify for a loan to rebuild, something nathan shoehalter won't be an issue for his retrofitted home because -- >> i know we're going to have an earthquake. >> reporter: now there are many exclusions in earthquake policies like driveways, pools, its and the deductible is typically 10 to 15% of the cost to rebuild the actua structure. julie watts, cbs 5. if you have a consumer problem or question, just give us a call at our hotline, 1-888- 5-helps-u. volunteers standing by right now to take your phone call. a special promotion at the gap today if you're in the market for some new pants. >> this is pretty cool. you can name your price now. there is a catch, though. the offer is only good for 18
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different pairs of khakis for men. >> okay. here's how it works. you make an offer online at then gap counters your offer and you can counter back. the deal runs through today. amid all the rubble and devastation in japan, what about our four-legged friends? >> how two homeless pets left stranded are biding for themselves. getting ready to plant?
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country's crippled nuclear well, coming up tonight at 5:00 a glimmer of hope out of japan. the latest on the work under way at the crippled nuclear plant and how it could prevent a total meltdown. >> plus, get ready for $5 atm fees. those stories and more coming up at 5:00. well, it is one of the most touching pieces of video that we have seen following the devastation in japan. >> it really is here. it's a faithful dog that's standing guard over its injured pal after they survived the tsunami. clip was filmed by a crew from fuji television and it's narrated in japanese. but really, no translation needed here to understand the heartbreak these two guys have. according to a facebook post, both of of the dogs have been
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rescued and are being cared for at a local animal shelter. >> that is so -- such great news. >> a lot of that going on to be sure. and if you want to help out the victims of japan, find out a lot more information at click on the "links" links the for the list of agencies that are coordinating the relief. >> and that is it for the cbs 5 news at noon. we'll see you back here at 5:00. >> we will. have a great afternoon. and we'll see you tomorrow morning at 4:30. enjoy!
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